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THE SINNER AND THE DIVINE MERCY OF ALLAH

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Allah’s mercy is intimately close to everyone of us, awaiting to embrace when we are ready. Islam recognizes human propensity to sin, for Allah has created man weak. The Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) stated:

“All the children of Adam constantly err…”

At the same time, Allah lets us know He forgives sins. Continuing the same hadeeth:

“…but the best of those who constantly err are those who constantly repent.”
[Al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, Hakim[

Allah says:

“Say, ‘O My servants, who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins, for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.’”
(Quran 39:53)

Muhammad, SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, the Prophet of Mercy, was charged to convey the good news to all people:

“Tell My servants that I am indeed the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
(Quran 15:49)

REPENTANCE ATTRACTS DIVINE MERCY:

“…Why do you not, rather, ask Allah to forgive you your sins, so that you might be graced with His mercy?”
(Quran 27:46)

“…Allah’s mercy is ever near unto the doers of good!”
(Quran 7:56)

Since ancient times, Allah’s saving mercy has rescued the faithful from pending doom:

“And so, when Our judgment came to pass, by Our mercy We saved Hud and those who shared his faith….”
(Quran 11:58)

“And so, when Our judgment came to pass, by Our mercy We saved Shu’ayb and those who shared his faith….”
(Quran 11:94)

Fullness of Allah’s compassion towards the sinner can be seen in the following:

1. ALLAH ACCEPTS REPENTANCE:

“Allah does wish to turn to you, but the wish of those who follow their lusts is that you should turn away (from Him), -far, far away.”
(Quran 4:27)

“Know they not that Allah accepts repentance from His votaries, and receives their gifts of charity, and that Allah is indeed He, the Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.”
(Quran 9:104)

2. ALLAH LOVES THE SINNER WHO REPENTS:

“…For Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly….”
(Quran 2:22)

The Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said:

“If mankind were not to commit sins, Allah would create other creatures who would commit sins, then He would forgive them, for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.”
[Al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Musnad Ahmed]

3. ALLAH IS DELIGHTED WHEN THE SINNER REPENTS BECAUSE HE REALIZES HE HAS A LORD WHO FORGIVES SINS!

The Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said:

“Allah is more delighted with the repentance of His slave when he repents, than any of you would be if (he found his) camel, which he had been riding in a barren desert, after it had escaped from him carrying his food and drink. After he despaired of it, he came to a tree and laid down in its shade. Then while he was despairing of it, the camel came and stood by his side, and he seized its reins and cried out in joy, ‘O God, You are my servant and I am your Lord!’ – making this mistake (in wording) out of his excessive joy.”
[Saheeh Muslim]

4. GATE OF REPENTANCE IS OPEN DAY AND NIGHT:

Divine mercy extends forgiveness every day and every night of the year. The Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said:

“Allah extends His Hand at night to accept the repentance of one who has sinned during the day, and He extends His Hand during the day to accept the repentance of one who has sinned during the night – until [the day comes when] the sun rises from the West (one of the major signs of the Day of Judgment).”
[Saheeh Muslim]

5. ALLAH ACCEPTS REPENTANCE EVEN IF SINS ARE REPEATED:

Repeatedly Allah shows His compassion to the sinner. Allah’s loving-kindness to the Children of Israel can be seen before the sin of the golden calf had been committed, Allah dealt with Israel according to His compassion, even after their sinning, He dealt with them in mercy. Ar-Rahman says:

“…and when We appointed for Moses forty nights [on Mount Sinai], and in his absence you took to worshipping the [golden] calf, and thus became evildoers: yet, even after that, We blotted out this your sin, so that you might have cause to be grateful.”
(Quran 2:51-52)

The Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said:

“A man committed a sin, and then said, ‘O my Lord, forgive my sin,’ so Allah said, ‘My slave has sinned, then he realized that he has a Lord who can forgive sins and can punish him for it.’ Then the man repeated the sin, then said, ‘O my Lord, forgive my sin.’ Allah said, ‘My slave has sinned, then he realized that he has a Lord who can forgive sins and can punish him for it.’ The man repeated the sin (the third time), then he said, ‘O my Lord, forgive my sin,’ and Allah said, ‘My slave has sinned, then he realized that he has a Lord who can forgive sins and can punish him for it. Do what you wish, for I have forgiven you.’”
[Saheeh Muslim]

6. ENTERING ISLAM ERASES ALL PREVIOUS SINS:

The Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) has explained that accepting Islam wipes off all previous sins of the new Muslim, no matter how serious they were with one condition: the new Muslim accepts Islam purely for Allah. Some people asked Allah’s Messenger, SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Will we be held responsible for what we did during the days of ignorance before accepting Islam?’

He (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) replied:

“Whoever accepts Islam purely for Allah will not be held to account, but one who does so for some other reason will be accountable for the time before Islam and after.”
[Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim]

Although Allah’s mercy is sufficient to cover any sin, it does not free man from his responsibility to behave rightly. Discipline and hard work is required along the path to salvation. The Law of Salvation in Islam takes into account faith and keeping to the Law, not mere belief in Allah. We are imperfect and weak and Allah created us this way. When we fall short in keeping to the sacred Law, the Loving Allah is ready to forgive. Forgiveness is received simply through confessing one’s sins to Allah alone and begging of His mercy, having a firm intention not to return to it.. But one should always remember that Paradise is not earned by virtue of one’s deeds alone, but is awarded by divine mercy. The Prophet of Mercy, SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, made this fact clear:

“Not one of you will enter Paradise by his deeds alone.”

They asked,
‘Not even you, O Messenger of Allah?’

He, SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, said,

“Not even me, unless Allah covers me with His grace and mercy.”
[Saheeh Muslim]

Belief in Allah, keeping to His Law, and good works, are considered the reasonnot the price for admission into Paradise.

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